Most states in the U.S. are considered “at-fault states,” which means drivers who cause car accidents can be held liable for compensating the people they injure during crashes. This usually happens either through settlements or lawsuits that result in jury verdicts.
Utah, however, is one of 12 states that’s considered a “no-fault state.” In no-fault states like Utah, injured drivers get most of their damages paid for by their own auto insurance policies.
But what happens if you contributed to or even caused a crash in Utah? Here’s what you need to know about how the state handles crashes where injured drivers are partially or fully at fault.
Your Bills Are Paid Out Through Your Personal Injury Protection Coverage
In some at-fault states, buying personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance coverage is optional. It’s designed to pay your medical bills and lost wages without having to rely on the other driver’s insurance company to pay you a settlement.
However, in no-fault states like Utah, PIP coverage is mandatory. In addition to paying for your medical bills and lost wages, it will also cover the damages of any passenger in your vehicle who was injured during a crash. By default, PIP only covers $3,000 of expenses, but its coverage limits can be increased by purchasing additional coverage.
You Can Sue the Other Driver if You Suffered Serious Injuries
As a no-fault state, many of Utah’s car accident claims are handled through injured drivers’ own PIP coverage. However, Utah allows injured drivers to sue at-fault drivers if they suffered serious injuries during their accidents if their own PIP coverage isn’t sufficient for their damages.
Common examples of serious injuries that people can sue for in Utah include those that cause:
- Permanent disability
For example, if your medical bills and lost wages total $30,000, but you only have $3,000 in PIP coverage, you could sue the at-fault driver for the remaining $27,000.
You Can Also Sue the Other Driver for Property Damage Expenses
By default, Utah’s no-fault auto insurance policies don’t cover property damage. That means the average injured driver who files a claim against their own PIP insurance to get money for their damages won’t receive a penny for their vehicle repair or replacement costs.
However, Utah allows drivers to sue the people who damaged their vehicles in crashes to get the money they need to repair or replace them—even if all of their medical bills are covered by their own PIP coverage.
You Must Be Less than 50% At Fault to Get Compensation from Other Drivers
Although Utah is one of only a few states that uses a no-fault system for injury claims, it joins the majority of states in using a modified comparative negligence system for determining who is eligible for compensation.
In modified comparative negligence states like Utah, you can be partially at fault for a car accident and still receive compensation from your insurer. However, your degree of fault must be less than 50%. If it’s 50% or more, you’re ineligible to get any compensation from the other driver or their insurance policy.
Your Compensation Is Reduced by Your Degree of Fault
Although you can still receive compensation for a crash that you’re partially at fault for causing, you won’t get the same amount of money as you would if your level of fault was 0%. In modified comparative negligence states like Utah, the amount of money you can receive from an injury claim is reduced by your percentage of fault.
That means if you would normally receive $10,000 for a car accident, but your level of fault is 20%, your total payout would be reduced by 20%. Instead of receiving $10,000, you would receive $8,000 for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Unsure of Your Options After a Crash? Contact Our Utah Car Accident Lawyers.
It can be confusing to determine the right steps to take after a crash in Utah. As a no-fault state, it may seem like you can only rely on your own insurance to get money for your damages. And while that’s often true after minor accidents that cause minor injuries, people who suffer serious injuries and major property damage can and should file lawsuits to get maximum compensation.
At Great West Injury Law, we can help you review all your options after a crash and help you get compensation—even if you were partially at fault. Contact us today for a free case review. It’s our goal to help you get the money you need to move forward with your life.